Thursday, July 31, 2014

[lost in the lights]

Center field.  Night game.  Playing under the lights.  Strong wind.

A high fly ball is on a perfect trajectory to be caught.  But the wind shifts.  And the ball gets momentarily lost in the lights.  What could have been an easy play is suddenly not.  As the ball drops just out of the line of lights, it falls past the outstretched glove.  The runner advances.

The team pulls together.  Rallies.  And solidly ends the inning leaving the runner on base.

Isn't that how life is?  

It's so rare that we have perfect weather.  No wind.  And a clear line of vision.

Sometimes, we're on the trajectory of a really good play.  A really good day.

But the wind shifts.
Our focus gets momentarily lost in the lights.

And what could have been a really good day, isn't.

Our team pulls together.
Ends the inning.

And we're okay again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[not quite a sunday]

I have such big plans.  Such big ideas.  Such high hopes.  
I sometimes forget that I don't always get my own way.

Yesterday was an okay day.

It wasn't a Sunday.
• No baseball. Too much rain.
• Still 1 assignment short of assignments that were due on the 28th.
• The bathroom desperately needed cleaning.
• With all of the Kenton's Cup merchandise arriving, and the onslaught of school supplies that have appeared in my home, our living room looks like an episode of Hoarders.  Minus the bugs.  And the rotten food.  And the rats.  And the feces.  (So maybe it's not as bad as I think!).
Cried SOBBED through the song He's My Son (Mark Shulz) when it came on Pandora.
• It was Kenton day.  Tuesdays are always just a little sadder.

But it also wasn't a Friday.
• It was a rainy day.  I love rainy days.  I should have jumped in some puddles.  Or gone for a bike ride up to McDonald's to get a chocolate shake like Kenton and I did that one day in the spring of 2012.
• McKayslin got to go play with her sister, Paige.
• I made bread. Wheat bread. From scratch including grinding the wheat.  And it was good.
• I cleaned the bathroom (mostly because Josh was coming to recaulk the backsplash, but whatever - it's clean).
• I finished 3 out of 4 assignments that were actually due on the 28th.  
• Had a fun little visit with my sister, Cia.
• Luke did all the dishes.  And vacuumed the living room, family room, the hall, AND the stairs.  AND he straightened the piles of stuff in the living room so it doesn't look quite so "hoarderish."
• We stopped to see our Kenton.
• Dinner was a success.  Buttermilk wheat blueberry pancakes from scratch, buttermilk syrup (Kenton syrup as Luke calls it), and bacon.  And fried red potatoes.
• McKayslin said family prayer... "and please bless our angel families to feel the peace of The Plan of Salvation" right after she asked Heavenly Father to please give Kenton the biggest tightest squish He could from us and tell him that we love and miss him so much and thanks for being the best big brother ever.

And we slept well again last night.

So perhaps yesterday wasn't a Sunday.  
But it wasn't a Friday.
Maybe instead it was something along the lines of a Tuesday.
Because it really was an okay day.

And some days are like that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

[sunday will come]

Sunday Will Come
(Elder Joseph B. Worthlin, October 2006, General Conference)

Over the past 2 years, more specifically over the past year and a half, this has been one of my go to talks.  It stays in an open tab on my tablet and on my phone.  I find myself reading his words of love and peace several times a week, and sometimes several times a day.

When President Hinckley spoke at Sister Wirthlin’s funeral, he said that it is a devastating, consuming thing to lose someone you love. It gnaws at your soul.
I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth.
Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced. Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse. On that day they stood triumphant.
On that day the veil of the temple was rent in twain.
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair. The superb man they had loved and honored hung lifeless upon the cross.
On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior—the man who had walked on water and raised the dead—was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.
On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.
I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.
But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.
And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.
Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.
Yesterday was a good day.  
A "Sunday." 
One of those days where things just felt pretty darn good.  

McKayslin had art camp in the morning.  She's loved spending her Monday mornings there all summer, creating, laughing, learning.  I had just enough time to run to the Wal-Mart to pick up the few things we needed (and perhaps a few new school supplies - shhhh...).  After art camp, we grabbed some lunch, and came home.  I worked on laundry and cleaned up a little.  

Right around 1, we heard the knockity-knock at the door.  Analeise was here!  I'm not sure who was more excited for this play time, Analeise or McKayslin!  Those two little munchkins (McKayslin playing big sister for the day and Analeise playing little sister) ran and played and jumped and colored and played dollies and painted nails and picked beans (because they were looking for more peas but there was an ant hill, ha, ha!) and watched shows and played play-doh.

I loved the giggles.  
I loved watching them play so well together.  
I loved hearing Analeise say Goosey and Uncle Wuke.
She mostly just called me You.
Guess we know who her favorites are!  ;) 

But I really loved what happened about halfway through the visit.

The girls were tearing through the kitchen on their way to their next grand adventure, when Analeise skidded to a halt in front of the large picture of the kids I have on the kitchen desk.

She stopped, looked at the picture, looked at me, looked back at the picture and said, "Ohhhhhhh...."  I said, "That's Kenton and McKayslin."  She looked at me and back at the picture, and her tone of voice registered recognition and love as she whispered, "Kenton..." McKayslin and I just looked at each other.  The moment was quickly over as the girls then sped off to pain their nails.

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us."

Later as they were playing play-doh, making cacos for Uncle Wuke, Analeise made something else and set it aside.  I asked her who that was for.  In a very matter of fact way, she shrugged and said, "It's for Kenton."

The play date was over way too soon.  That little sweetheart has all of us wrapped around her little finger!

We ate dinner (delicious Kenton favorites of creamed peas and potatoes, steak bites, and fresh green beans - which are now McKayslin's favorites too - except the steak!).

And headed off to Smithfield to watch that biggest brother play some baseball again.
It was perfect baseball watching weather.  

And perfect company.  
The game was pretty slow.  Tied 1-1 for a while.  And then 3-3 for a while.  Tay was up to bat, bottom of the 7th, 2 outs, winning run on 2nd, with the score tied at 3.  Ha, no pressure there.  

He pounded one into the field, bringing the runner in.
The end.  

We love watching baseball.  
I can always feel Kenton close for a few minutes during each game.  

Game over we stopped for ice cream and came home.  
And we slept well again.  
I hope I don't jinx us by saying that...

Yesterday was indeed a "Sunday."  

What's interesting to me about these Sundays, is that they don't come and stay.
I don't think we'd appreciate them as much if they did. 

They come around once in a while, just like regular Sundays do.  
These days of smiles and peace and all day happy.  

And on these Sundays, Kenton is so close.
Just as close as other days, certainly, but it's a different close.  

It's an I'm proud of you guys kind of close.

And on these Sundays, I know he's giving us that trademark grin and a double thumbs up.

Because Sundays are family days.  
Tradition days.  
Kenton's favorite kinds of days.

Today is Tuesday.
Kenton day.
Tears are always a little closer and emotions a little tighter on Tuesdays.

We miss our boy.

We miss his hugs, his smiles, his laugh, his joy in everyday living.


Until we are reunited as an eternal family, we will miss him.

Today we'll have pancakes and bacon for dinner.
Maybe even blueberry pancakes with buttermilk syrup.
And bacon.
Because it's Tuesday.

And we'll go see our boy.  

And then we'll go watch some baseball.  

Because sometimes, even Tuesdays can be Sundays.

Monday, July 28, 2014

[grateful in any circumstance]

That was our Relief Society lesson yesterday.

Grateful in Any Circumstance_President Uchtdorf

I'm going to be totally honest when I say it really touched a raw nerve (or 5!) for me.  I think there are a lot of misconceptions about this topic.  About this attitude of gratitude if you will.

Don't get me wrong.  We do need to be grateful.  And we do need to acknowledge our blessings AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL THINGS.  I'm not saying we shouldn't.

And perhaps my last raw nerve was strung so tightly yesterday that I couldn't appreciate the conversation during the lesson...

I don't know.

What I do know is this: President Uchtdorf counsels us to be grateful in any circumstance.  NOT for every circumstance.  That's a great comfort to me.  I don't HAVE to be grateful that Kenton had leukemia.  I don't HAVE to be grateful that he died (because seriously?!?!?!?).

But what I do HAVE to do is be grateful for the blessings and knowledge that came during and from those circumstances.

Grateful that both Luke and I were given one on one time with each of our children.  Time to focus only on that kiddo.  Time to develop a stronger relationship.  Time to learn about each other.  Time to teach each other.  Time to strengthen our eternal family bonds.

Grateful that our friends stepped up so quickly and with so much energy pulling off the most amazing fundraisers that we did not have to worry about how our bills would be paid, or how we would afford to travel to Salt Lake and back multiple times a week, or how we could have a halfway house for Luke and Kenton to live in post transplant. 

Grateful for the friends that stepped in and each had a "McKayslin day" during the week so she wouldn't be so bored and lonely.

Grateful that our Hyrum 8th ward family took to heart the scripture in Mosiah18:8-9...and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yeah, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea and comfort those that stand in need of comfort... and took such good care of our little family in our times of greatest trial.  Grateful for the months of lawn mowing, and garden watering/weeding, and Sparky tending, and meals, and garden picking/preserving.  Grateful for letters and texts and emails and visits and gifts.

Grateful for the staff at Lincoln Elementary, my friends, that so generously provided financial gifts to us at the exact time in which they were needed.

Grateful for our families that prayed, and called, and visited.

Grateful that Grammy took months off of work and spent her summer here as well, helping take care of the kids.  Grateful for the relationship that they developed with her.

Grateful for Kenton's friends, teachers, scout leaders who never left him out and who made a very concentrated effort to include him and let him feel of their love.

Grateful for the hundreds of times our names were put on the prayer rolls of the temple.  We didn't get the miracle we had hoped for, but what we did get was peace.  And strength.  

Grateful for the friends that dropped everything and came to the hospital to visit even when I'd told them I was fine.  Because they knew I wasn't.  I recall most specifically the day in June, a really really hard day for both Kenton and I.  We were both sad and scared.  And lonely.  I'd told several friends that we were doing fine.  Not to worry about us.  I didn't think either of us needed anyone viewing our pity party.  And suddenly, at the window of Kenton's door, we see Heidi-mom, a plate of treats in one hand (which happened to be the treat Kenton was craving that day!), and Knox in his carseat in the other.  She came.  Because she knew we weren't okay.  And she didn't listen to me when I said we were.

Grateful for friends (and sometimes complete strangers!) that generously provided financial support at a time that was so needed.  Grateful for those that wish to remain anonymous that completely paid for Kenton's funeral expenses.  

Grateful to understand and appreciate the power of The Atonement.

Grateful for loving ward and stake leadership that always came when called to give blessings.  And sometimes just showed up to do so because they knew we wouldn't ask.

Grateful for so many things that I know I've failed to mention.

We can, and SHOULD, choose to be grateful in any circumstance. we miss our Kenton. I wish that we could have kept him here on earth. I pray for understanding and peace.  

And still, I find that there are dozens of moments of grateful.

President Uchtdorf said:
We can choose to be like the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, while a prisoner in miserable conditions in Liberty Jail, penned these inspired words: “Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

[facing the crazy]

Some days (weeks, months, years??) I find myself in a whirlpool of crazy that doesn't seem to have an exit.  A whirlpool of sad, and scared, and angry, and alone.  When I hit the center of that whirlpool, spinning in dizzying circles of grief and anger and loneliness, I'm not myself.  I'm just an awfully confused person trying to figure out whether it's safer to ride out the whirlpool or shut this crazy down as quickly as possible.

Yesterday, particularly, was one of those days.

I felt the whirlpool begin last Sunday morning, and throughout the week, the tug and pull and dark just kept getting stronger, darker, scarier.  

After Jason's funeral yesterday, I just had nothing left with which to fight.  I was done.  Ready to come home, succumb to the crazy and just ride it out at home in my pajamas with a healthy dose of Diet Coke and chocolate, knowing that today I wouldn't feel much better, but not knowing what else to do.

And then Luke said that Taylor's game had been moved from 11 to 2.  It was 1:30...and we needed to eat lunch.  After a few texts from Cia, and a very kind offering from President, and a delicious lunch at Juniper Take Out, we found ourselves on the benches at Logan High watching Taylor play.  And just like that, I realized, again, that it takes friends to hold me up when I face the crazy.

It was a good game.  The sun was shining.  McKayslin loved being there with Dani and Cameron and President and Cia and watching her biggest brother play ball.  I loved being there with friends that just stand with us as the crazy rolls on through - no judgment, no backing down, no expectations.  (And now, dang it, my good make-up day was just ruined as the tears course down my cheeks yet again!).

Did I mention that the sun was shining?  It was a very warm day.  I loved it.  Everyone else said it was so very hot.  Nothing quite like baking your brains out on metal bleachers watching baseball.  :)

After the game, we headed home.  Our plans for home were interrupted by another text (and then a phone call, ha, ha!) insisting that we come boating...

I hate water.  Let me clarify... I HATE WATER! I'm terrified of being in large open bodies of water.  McKayslin, not so much.  Luke, maybe a little bit.  But our Acevedo family was pretty insistent, and within the hour we were on the lake.  
McKayslin loved being on the water.  In the water.  She jumped in and swam around and loved being loved by her other family.  Her safe place.

I loved watching the tenderness and care that those big boys use with her.  They tease her like crazy, but every once in a while, when they think no one is watching, there's a hand on a shoulder, a gentle smile, and sometimes even a hug.  

I'm sure it's frustrating altering plans and the normal way of doing things to accommodate other people.  I know it is.  But not once in the whole day with our Acevedo family, did we feel that we were frustrating to them.

Bubs would have loved yesterday.  He would have loved being there to show love and support for our dear Wiberg friends as they said good-bye to Jason, because Kenton KNEW and understood the Plan of Salvation.  

He would have loved cheering for Tay. Because watching baseball is almost as good as playing baseball!

And he absolutely would have LOVED being on the water!!  Some of my favorite pictures of Kenton are from his one and only scout camp (circa 2011) down at Peterson Beach.  He spent nearly the whole camp in the water...

But most of all, just like the rest of us, he would have loved being with his Acevedo family.  His safe place.  

Oh how we miss our boy!

We came home, just a little more pink than we started the day, but in a whole lot better place.  The night came, and we slept.  Soundly.  Well.  Not haunted by the whirlpool that only 12 hours earlier had threatened to shatter me.

This morning, I woke up, laced up my shoes, and headed up to see my boy.  I love Sunday morning sunrises with Kenton.  I love spending time up there, feeling him close.  Talking to him.  There are always tears.  But sometimes there are smiles, too.

This morning the tears were sad tears, missing Kenton tears, but they were also tears of gratitude.  

Gratitude for friends that step into the crazy and face it with me.  
I have many that do.  
I am so blessed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

the power of one

It's midnight.  I've been debating whether or not to sit and write all afternoon.  I guess the answer is that I need to just get my thoughts out - coherent or not.

I've been thinking a lot this week about the power of one.  Sitting in our living room right now are four large boxes full of toys, games, play-doh, coloring books, and craft kits.  All of those items given to us by friends, family, and followers of Team Kenton in honor of Kenton's birthday.  Soon those boxes of gifts will be delivered to PCMC - specifically the ICS floor.  We couldn't have done that on our own.  We couldn't have even come close to doing that on our own.  But when so many people pitched in just a little, amazing things happened.

11 days from now, we will participate in Allisa's Run For Wishes in memory of sweet Allisa Berry on what would be her 21st birthday.  Proceeds from this race go directly to Make-A-Wish Utah.  Kenton's wish is one of our favorite ways to remember him.  Make-A-Wish does great things.

18 days from now, we will participate in the F2TF 5K . This is our 2nd year for this race.  Last year was incredible.  Beautiful.  Powerful.  Proceeds from this race go to the Giving Tree project.  We were humbled, grateful, and so blessed to receive one of these trees shortly after Kenton died.

I know both Allisa's mom and Tyler's mom personally.  Beautiful strong women.  Full of faith and strength.  Both fighting to make a difference in honor of their brave and precious warriors who, like Kenton, won their fight against cancer on the eternal playing field.

The power of one.  Alone it's not much.  But my one and your one and someone else's one, that is something.  Something big.  Something brave.  

I've felt almost like an outsider in my own life this month.  Sometimes I think we're blessed to feel numb.  Heavenly Father knows our triggers.  Those memories and traditions that will stop us in our tracks, heart beating too fast, unable to breathe moments.  And He gives us the ability to feel without really feeling, to watch without really seeing.  Numb.

As I've watched this month unfold, I've seen texts and treats and phone calls and visits and emails and Facebook posts and cards and gifts show up - our friends, each of them doing what they can to help us through.  All of those little moments of one build into something strong.  Something healing.

We are so blessed.

I know this little blog is sorely neglected.  It's hard for me to write.  Sometimes I feel like I should write about our day to day life.  

I should write about how proud I am of McKayslin.  About how she gets up each day determined to make the world just a little happier.  About how, even in her own sadness and grief, reaches out to those around her, lifting them, cheering them.  About how she bravely faces each new same thing. I should write about how she giggles as she remembers summers with Kenton, and about how she encourages us to just be strong.

I should write about the things we do.  And how, in our attempt to choose happiness, we really are able to feel moments of genuine happy.

And then I feel guilty that our day to day life is, in fact, moving forward.  Without Kenton.  His memories are safely tucked in our hearts.  We speak of him often.  Remember him with so much love.  Miss him with so much sorrow.  But the truth is that life.just.moves.forward.  

It's not a new normal.  
It's different.
It will never be normal. 
It hurts.  
And it's hard.  
And none of it makes much sense.

This weekend our little neighborhood and ward family will say good-bye to one of our own.  Jason may not have battled cancer, that battle might have been easier.  His battles were hard.  Heartbreaking.  Yet his insight into the love of our Heavenly Father and his testimony of The Atonement would often catch me off guard during a Sunday School lesson as he quietly shared moments when he acquired that knowledge.

That kind of deep, abiding faith often comes as a result of trudging through darkness, one foot in front of the other, praying desperately for a glimpse of eternity, longing for peace.  The faith that you simply must cling to because it's the only thing that makes any sense.  When faced with sorrow that threatens to consume you, you have to live in that place in which you only once believed.

Today I sat at the piano as I often do when seeking peace, playing through the hymns.  I usually play whatever hymn opens as I turn the pages of the book.  Today (yesterday now, I suppose), 4 different times in the course of 15 minutes or so, I turned to "Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide."  I seem to understand the messages being sent better through music than any other way...

...O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me...
Behold, 'tis eventide.

Our eventide is our life now, learning, still, always learning, to live as a lopsided earthly family.

The power of one.  
The power of the One.
One so holy, so perfect, so willing.
One in whom I find peace.
And even joy.

Tonight, I am grateful.
Grateful to know that Kenton's earthly mission was completed faithfully and that he's serving well on the other side.  We feel glimpses of that eternal mission and know that he's okay.
Grateful in the promise of eternal life and forever families.
Grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and elder brother Jesus Christ.
Grateful that through that One, I feel peace.

There really is power in one.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What my little Fierce Tigers taught me about showing up

I was McKayslin's softball coach this summer (along with Callie and Maria). Our little team of 11 girls had 3 players that had played before.  8 that were new to the sport, and of those 8, 2 who were very young compared to the rest of the team.

Learning something new takes time.  
A lot of time.  
And a lot of practice.  
Each of my little fierce tigers had to learn how to catch, how to throw, how to run the bases, how to field, how to pitch, how to play catcher, and how to hit the ball.  
How to play as a team.

We practiced twice a week and played twice a week for most of the month of June.  Those little tigers worked so hard.  They rarely complained.  And we worked them hard.

They practiced the same drills over and over and over until fielding a grounder was second nature.  
Until swinging a bat felt natural.  
Until throwing a ball became automatic.

Each inning they were expected to participate as a team in cheering each other on (this rarely required any reminders from their coaches - they were such an awesome little team!) when it was our turn to bat, and to be supportive in the field, while playing whichever position I put them in without complaint.

And honestly, in all of our four days of softball a week, the complaints I heard could be counted on one hand (and most of those came from the coach!).  Those 11 little tigers just did.not.give.up.

Our "win/loss" record wasn't great.
By score, we won two games.
But you know what was so awesome about these little tigers?  Even when the final score didn't show a win, they won because they showed up, they had fun, they worked together, they smiled, they encouraged each other, and they just.did.not.give.up.

July is a hard month.
It's always been Kenton's favorite month.
The 4th of July.
His birthday and birthday trip.
The 24th of July.
Backyard fires.

But now, our Julys are tempered with the lonely ache of missing our Kenton.
Sadness locked in to each promised continued tradition.
Hurt in each adapted tradition.

Instead of watching the Hyrum 4th of July parade, last year and this year, we participated, promoting Kenton's Cup (August 28-30, 2014).
We went to Richmond for ice cream.  
Just like every year.
I had Funky Fudge (Kenton's favorite).
Instead of ordering pizza and parking near a field to play frisbee or catch until fireworks, we picked up take out and had a picnic and watched fireworks at the cemetery.
Our McDonald Family joined us and brought along a Cream Soda party and glow sticks just about dark.  
We haven't had a backyard fire yet.
But we will.
And I'll eat a S'Mintz for Kenton.
Saturday is Kenton's birthday.
His 14th.
His 2nd in Heaven.
We'll start the morning with a session at the Brigham City temple with our Acevedo Family.
We'll share some laughs with Grammy and our McDonald Family at Who Shot Juanito Bandito in the afternoon.  And we'll end the day with dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then a visit with Kenton.  We'll take balloons and treats and a little Schleich Clyde that McKayslin picked out.
Next week, we'll make a trip to Salt Lake to deliver games and toys and coloring books and play-doh to PCMC in honor of Kenton.  
We get to do that because we have awesome friends.
Who knows...maybe we'll even go camping before July is over.

Even almost 18 months later, living with grief, without Kenton, is still so new to us.
Learning something new takes time.  
A lot of time.  
And a lot of practice.

We roll through the same emotions over and over and over until breathing through a panic attack becomes second nature.  
Until wading through waves of grief feels almost natural.  
Until smiling once again becomes automatic.

But to do that, we have to
Day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute, we have to
We're doing a little better with that.

Our friends are so much like my little fierce tigers. 
They're our team. 
They just show up.
They show up with love.
With understanding.
With encouragement.
And they never complain that during that inning we're a little less ourselves than what they'd hoped to receive.
That we're different than how we used to be.
They just don't.give.up on us, regardless of how many times we give up on ourselves.

And maybe, although the scoreboard of smiles vs. tears doesn't show it, July will be a win, because we'll show up, we'll have fun, we'll work together, we'll smile, we'll encourage each other, and we just.will.not.give.up.

That's what Kenton taught me too.
Show up.
Don't give up.
You are enough.